Forging relationships or forming alliances?

by Jack Warren, editor and host of Top Coach Podcast

Cultivating networks.

Developing relationships.

Among the many terms that describe what needs to happen because we don’t operate in a vacuum. Nearly everything we do depends upon the relationships we have with others. And as coaches we depend upon these relationships to an even greater extent than a large percentage of society.

It’s as old as time.  Strategic alliances that are meant to consolidate power, maneuver ourselves into positions of greater influence, or change our bargaining position. Sometimes this took the form of a treaty. Sometimes a marriage of convenience.

When discussed in public, we try to couch it in only the most flattering terms. We’re networking. It’s not so much the activity itself that is off-putting — in fact, it can be endearing — but quite often the motivations behind it.

So when you’re developing that network for recruiting, education, or vocational aspirations, it’s to a great extent for far more than you’re just a friendly guy. There is a potential payoff at the end of that meet-and-greet. The fact is, if handled properly, there’s almost always something in it for you. And if handled correctly, it’s a win-win for both parties. That’s how it should be.

The underlying question in your mind, however, should be about your networking mindset. Ask yourself, “Am I forging relationships or merely forming alliances?” To some this may be no more than parsing words. To others those phrases immediately put you in a frame of mind that dictates your approach. Forging connotes something solid and built to last. Is the extent of your networking merely the weak attempt to form alliances in order to leverage said alliances to some current or future advantage? Or do you look at forging a relationship as the foundation from which good outcomes may emerge? Subtle change in thinking. Huge change in mindset.

Motives are not typically worn like a slogan on a tee-shirt, but believe me, your actions typically telegraph your motives. As Abe Lincoln famously said, you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. If you lead with a servant spirit and network with genuine motives, people will notice. You will develop a worthy reputation. It will be a win-win for everyone.

Jack is available to speak to your team or organization or at your next function. He also provides individual and organizational coaching and consulting. You can get more information on these services at Jack’s professional services site,

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